4/15/2006 HOUSTON -- With the Easter weekend upon us, retail gasoline prices continue to soar across Texas and the nation as crude oil market prices push sharply higher, according to the weekly AAA Texas gas prices survey released Friday.

The survey shows the average retail price of regular, self-serve gasoline in Texas climbed 14 cents this week to $2.73 per gallon. Nationally, the average price climbed 12 cents this week to $2.72 per gallon

Locally, Houston and surrounding area gas prices jumped dramatically and are higher than both the statewide and national averages. At the corners of U.S. 59 and Highway 36, the Shell station has gas priced at $2.75 for regular and $2.98 for premium unleaded, while Texaco is the highest in the area at $2.81 and $3.01, while Exxon on the third corner is $2.73 and $2.93

Gas in Richmond jumped about the same as Rosenberg, with the Shell station on Jackson Street and FM 762 in Richmond selling for $2.75 and $2.97, while the Chevron across the street is selling regular unleaded for $2.79 per gallon and $2.99 for premium unleaded.

Crude prices approached the record high of $70.85 per barrel earlier this week, said auto club spokeswoman Rose Rougeau. That was amid concerns that shipments from Iran, Nigeria and Iraq might be jeopardized by security threats. Motorists could expect to see higher gas prices this summer if crude prices remain near $70 per barrel, she said in the survey statement issued Friday.

The highest average price in Texas was reported in Dallas, where the price climbed 14 cents this week to an average of $2.81 per gallon. The cheapest gas was found in Corpus Christi, where it averaged $2.65 per gallon, despite a 16-cent increase this week. The Houston average is $2.756, up 13.9 cents from last week, and up 25.9 cents from two weeks ago

(Reported By Chris Sansone